Father and son

So being a relatively new member (if ‘relatively new’ can mean ‘a few years’) to the organization, and a first time attendee, one goal I had for SABR 48 was to introduce myself to a number of committee chairs. Considering myself a relatively abysmal conversationalist, I wanted to try and think up some hook of an idea to engage folks. It usually involved a slightly unique question.

Now, if you’ll humor me, I’ll pose the question (and reason for it) that I had approached Mark Armour with, in the hopes that someone can come up with something more on the topic.

Does anyone know when the earliest Kennesaw Mountain Landis card was produced? When I had asked Mark, all we could think of were examples from those early ’60s Fleer old-timer sets. A quick ebay check shows something called a Callahan with him on it from around 1950, but I can’t locate anything earlier.

The reason I ask this is: I have recently become enamored with those mid 1930s National Chicle sets. The cards are brilliantly-colored, art-deco masterpieces. Unfortunately, the baseball set involves star cards that are a bit out of my budget. Meanwhile, the football set involves star and non-star cards that are, for the most part, out of everyone’s budget.  However, in 1934-35, a set was made that highlighted famous aviators from the previous 31ish years called Sky Birds, which provides a neat gateway to learning about aviation (and a lot of WW1 aviation) history. The set also happens to be downright affordable, especially if you’re not looking for slabbing material. So I’ve picked up a bunch.

Learning about the stories of these pilots has been fascinating. Get a card, do a Wikipedia search, and you find out about the Lafayette Escadrille, or the greatest WW1 flying ace from (insert country here), or some other tidbit (I have a beaten up dupe of the guy who flew the first non-stop, coast-to-coast flight, for anyone interested). They’re all pretty great. But there is one particular card that includes a flying ace from WW1 with a name and facial structure that looked somewhat familiar to me. He wasn’t anyone I had known of before, but then I’ve always been pretty ignorant when it comes to ‘The Great War.’ His name was Reed Landis, and based on his Wikipedia bio, he has been credited with twelve aerial victories.


And as you’ve probably logically determined by now, he was a relative of Judge Landis’s. Specifically, a son.

I’m not going to give you some kind of fleshed out rundown of his backstory (or frontstory) here, because I’d essentially be copying info from a much more detailed Wikipedia entry. But I will pose the question again in slightly altered form: does anyone know if Kennesaw made it on cardboard before his son did? It’s interesting  to think that, quite possibly, one of the most powerful men in baseball history was beaten to the medium of collectible cards by his own flesh and blood.

5 thoughts on “Father and son”

  1. The Callahan set was produced starting in 1950 through ’55 and included all the Hall-of-Famers up to then. I have a couple of them. They are small (1.75×2.5 inches), black&white with drawn portrait of the player and career story in very small type on the reverse. The copyright is in even smaller type — I think it’s “R.K. Callahan” but I’m not positive on the initials and don’t have a magnifying glass handy. There is probably something moe about the set on the PSA web site, which calls the set “1950 Callahan HOF.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The answer to your question, according to Beckett, is no. The “earliest card” listed in the Beckett database for Kenesaw Landis is 1939-1952 Albertype Hall of Fame Postcard. As he probably had to have been a HOFer at the time, it’s most likely his postcard was issued after 1944.


  3. Great post, Andy. The only issue I can think of is the Baseball Magazine premium photo series. It includes Landis. Series goes back to 1920. Not sure of the year Landis was included.


  4. Great post! As others have noted the first card of the Commissioner (or ANY commissioner would have come after that card of Reed Landis.

    Another son who beat his dad to cardboard was Cal Ripken, Jr., although this may depend how one defines baseball cards since the elder Ripken had some 1970s “photo pack” type issues.


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